|PLANT TYPE: Annual
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Borago officinalis
ZONE / HARDINESS: N/A
MATURE PLANT SIZE: 24 to 36 inches high x 16 to 20 inches wide
LIGHT: Partial Sun
FLOWERING PERIOD: June to July
SOIL TYPE: fairly rich, well-drained soil
pH RANGE: 6.6
KNOWN PESTS: Japanese beetles
KNOWN DISEASES: N/A
Borage is a decorative annual with coarse, hairy leaves and stems and beautiful sky-blue flowers in a star shape. The plant grows about 2 to 3 feet tall.
Sprays of borage flowers and leaves are used to give a cool, cucumber-like flavor to summer drinks. Bees are attracted to the borage plant.
This self-seeding plant has many leaves on branched, hollow stems covered with stiff white hairs. The drooping flowers are on racemes. The star-shaped blue corollas are 3/4 inch wide with five segments and five stamens with black anthers. The ovate to oblong lanceolate leaves are up to 6 inches long and form a rosette. The upper leaves are wrinkled, rough, and hairy.
Sow the seeds in the spring 1/8 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Prefers fine, well-worked moist soil and partial sun. Borage will bloom nearly all season and will self-seed from year to year. The shallow-rooted prolific plants are easy to thin when overgrown. Planting in thick clumps provides support to top-heavy plants; extra support is beneficial. Pick the leaves in spring and summer when flowering begins.
PROPAGATION / SOWING:
Seeds sown after last frost. Sow the seeds in the spring 1/8 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Prefers fine, well-worked moist soil.
Plant with strawberries to improve yield. Borage attracts bees, so plant where pollination is needed. It also is said to strengthen insect and disease resistance in nearby plants.
CARE & GROWING:
In areas with cold weather, sow the oblong black seeds in the spring in shallow drills about 12 inches apart. The soil should be reasonably fine, moist, and in partial sun. Sheltering the plants from strong winds will help keep the soft main stems from breaking under the weight of the plant. Borage blooms nearly all season and will self-seed from year to year. Plants do best when allowed to grow in thick clumps for support. These shallow-rooted plants are easy to thin when they become overgrown.
Culinary, decorative, and medicinal. Leaves can be eaten raw or sauteed like spinach. They are used in teas and to flavor wine cups. The candied leaves or stems can be used with cheese, fish, poultry, most vegetables, green salads, iced beverages, pickles, and salad dressing. The flowers are used for garnish or in salads. The plants attract bees and butterflies, and the blue flowers are very attractive. Borage can be grown in containers indoors. It is said to have medicinal qualities.